After a series of blunders, the principal organiser of the Bengaluru edition of Kiss of Love, Rachita Taneja, has backed out leaving the Facebook event page she created a few weeks ago to an anonymous group.
At 1 am on Monday, the group managing the page put out a pink and white logo which has a drawing of a boy and girl locking lips and the words, "Kiss of Love. Revolution. November 30 Bangalore (sic.)". There is no information on the venue or the time.
The attitude of the organisers has left even the most ardent supporters of the concept fuming with rage. "I went on live television extending support to the event purely out of a sense of solidarity. But Ms. Taneja did not even respond to my emails or calls. Now, she has backed out," said Vidya Dinker, an activist known to take on vigilante groups that try to impose a moral code on young people in Coastal Karnataka.
Dinker, who was in Bengaluru to participate in the LGBTQ Pride parade on Sunday, held a meeting on the sidelines of the parade with other activists to figure out how to neutralise the threats from right wing organisations to the Kiss of Love event. "Taneja was also called for the meeting. Neither did she respond nor did she turn up. I don't even know if she exists," said one of the activists who attended the strategy meeting.
Pushpa Achanta, another supporter of KOL, said, "I have stopped trying to contact Taneja. She has not responded to any of the mails or Facebook messages I sent her."
Taneja, a little known activist, who recently moved to Bengaluru from Delhi, had announced the event even before seeking police permission. "We had to contact her and ask her to come to the police station and take proper permission. When she came, she did not even know that permission is to be sought in writing. She did not know where or when she wanted to hold the event. Finally, she said she wanted permission for November 30," a senior police official told HT.
Police Commissioner M N Reddi told reporter on Monday, "We have not yet taken a decision on granting permission. We have asked the law department for advice on the issue."
Describing events such as KOL as "elitist", Muneer Katipalla, the Mangaluru-based chief of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, said that since January this year, 56 couples have been attacked in Mangaluru by groups such as the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Jagarana Vedike as well as the Islamist group Popular Front of India. The attackers, he said, have a problem when a Hindu and Muslim boys and girls mingle with one another.
"In their statements so far, the KOL organisers have not even mentioned this. What, then are they protesting against?" I think KOL Bengaluru is just a fad like Indian Holloween, promoted by people who are removed from ground realities."
Meanwhile, the State Women's Rights Commission Chairman, Manjula Manasa, has also opposed the event in a letter written to the Chief Minister. "How will kissing in public stop moral policing?" Manasa sought to know speaking to HT.